Northern Ireland

More public land needed to ease housing pressures says trade body

A construction worker on the roof of a house Image copyright PA
Image caption Cameron Watt said the executive needed to set targets to open up public land for housing

More public land must be made available by the Northern Ireland Executive to accelerate house building, according to a housing trade body.

Cameron Watt, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations, said the move was needed to ease pressure over housing.

He said the economy would also benefit.

But he said housing associations were not able to access a large number of sites to build the homes needed.

"We'd like to see a big focus from the whole of the Northern Ireland Executive on setting binding targets in the next programme for government to get that land brought forward for all types of housing," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business programme.

"Let's get the homes built, let's get Northern Ireland building."

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood said his party had put forward proposals on social housing during negotiations for the recent Fresh Start political deal at Stormont.

"The SDLP called for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to use its vesting powers to acquire lands and for developers to use it or sell it to stop land banking," he said.

"The scale of numbers on the waiting list and the bad quality of too much social housing stock means a gear change is needed with ambitious goals in the next programme for Government."

BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Business is available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer.

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